Prince Is Causing His Label To Break Out In A Black Sweat

noah | June 29, 2007 11:05 am

Prince’s plan to bundle copies of his forthcoming album, Planet Earth, with an “imminent” edition of the UK newspaper Daily Mail is not sitting well with his label:

SonyBMG is pulling Prince’s new album, “Planet Earth,” from shelves in the U.K. after the reclusive rock star struck a deal with a local newspaper to give away the CD, The Post has learned.

According to two sources close to the situation, Columbia Records – the label Prince records on with SonyBMG – is none too pleased with the miniature minister of funk’s deal to include free copies of his new record in The Mail on Sunday.

Known as “cover mounts,” record labels are generally against this kind of promotion because it cuts into retail sales. And with CD sales already down about 20 percent so far this year, no major label can afford to have one of its marquee artists giving away what amounts to its biggest source of revenue.

One label executive said that in the U.K., in particular, there’s been strong pushback against cover mounts.

While a Columbia Records spokeswoman stressed that the label still plans to release Prince’s new record throughout the rest of the world, including the U.S. and other European territories, she added that, “After giving away two million copies for free, we didn’t think it made good business sense to put the record out to retail in the U.K.”

The story goes on to note that Prince could engage in legal action against SonyBMG for pulling the album in the UK–although we suspect that he’s having a lot more fun watching them squirm over the business idea that his camp negotiated behind their back. (Not to mention that he apparently has a few other things on his plate at the moment.)

SONYBMG, PRINCE IN ROYAL ROW OVER FREEBIE [NYP] Prince May Be Planning To Make Your Newsstand Much More Beautiful [Photo: AP]